Courtesy of WSL North America
– biggest surf in event history kicks off Rounds 1 and 2 of pro juniors
– Both men and women deliver big performances
– women’s quarterfinalists determined; men’s top seeds await debuts
– more information available AT WORLDSURFLEAGUE.COM
|ZIPPERS, San Jose Del Cabo/ Mexico (Monday, June 11, 2018) – The World Surf League (WSL) Los Cabos Open of Surf Pro Junior events got underway in unruly, six-to-eight foot, occasional plus, Zippers. Both the men and women juniors got in the water and only those who could overcome the powerful conditions triumphed. A marathon day wrapped with men and women finishing Rounds 1 and 2, setting up women’s Quarterfinal draws and top seeded surfers in the men’s event await their start in Round 3.
An in-form Macy Callaghan (AUS) took advantage of the pumping swell and acclimated easily among the junior women for a spot in the Quarterfinals. The Australian helped eliminate defending event winner, Summer Macedo (HAW), as the two got off to a great start, but Macedo couldn’t find a back up. Callaghan, however, led the way and posted the day’s highest heat total, a 14.10 (out of a possible 20), and single-wave scores of a 7.67 (out of a possible 10) in her Round 1 heat.
“There’s a few good ones out there, but I’m exhausted after those heats,” Callaghan said. “I flew in yesterday, thinking I had a few days to rest, but ended up getting into this event as an alternate last minute. It’s easier to just go out, surf, and forget about it though, but I’ve never seen Cabo this big — I’m in pure shock. I feel a lot more comfortable in this size, being taller than most of the girls, and there’s a lot of waves like this back home so that really helped.”
Callaghan’s fellow compatriot Zahli Kelly (AUS), 14, carried the Aussie momentum and topped current North America No. 1 Kirra Pinkerton (USA) in Round 2 Heat 1 — who also advanced with a buzzer beater. This marks Kelly’s first time to the shores of Los Cabos, and she was greeted with the biggest conditions in event history. But, the Australian handled it brilliantly on her forehand, posting a 7.00 in the process, and earned her spot in finals day.
“It was a little stressful, but the waves definitely got the adrenaline going,” Kelly said. “To make the Quarters is great confidence knowing I can get through when the waves are tough. I wanted to get the bigger ones that gave you some wall and I got pretty lucky with a good first wave. I’ve never surfed this wave before and I cracked a rib a few weeks ago, so I didn’t get much training in. It’s great doing both events and knowing if I were to stuff up in this one, I’d still have the QS so I’m excited.”
Australian India Robinson (AUS) also earned her way into the Quarterfinals, matching Callaghan’s 7.67 in her Round 1 debut.
Savanna Stone (HAW), also 14-years-old, took on the heavy surf beautifully in both Round 1 and 2. Stone competed in this event last year for the first time, but did her homework before returning and knew what was in store with the swell on hand. The Maui, Hawaii, competitor put on a showcase of forehand style and made work of the testy conditions and played a big role in eliminating one of last year’s standout, Samantha Sibley (USA).
“It was pretty similar to home with the power the waves had, but finding your way back out was difficult,” Stone said. “I had my coach and we were training for being further out since we knew it’d be big — just working on where to sit and which waves to catch. You figure it out more and more every heat. I got in as an alternate and had to get out with only a few minutes, but it all worked out. I’m glad to get into this one and get my confidence up for the QS as well.”
Only Pinkerton, Nicole Fulford (USA), Kayla Coscino (USA), and Bethany Zelasko (CAN) represent North America in the Quarterfinals.
Before the women got underway, the men did their damage to the pumping, morning conditions on offer in Rounds 1 and 2 to begin their Los Cabos Open of Surf campaigns.Sebastian Williams (ZAF) made his Los Cabos debut one to remember with brilliant performances in both Rounds 1 and 2. The South African spent his childhood on waves similar to the righthander of Zippers when delivering conditions such as today. Williams went to work on his forehand with the day’s top heat total in Round One, a 14.50 (out of a possible 20), and backed it up in Round Two with a 14.33, earning an excellent 8.50 (out of a possible 10).
“The waves are so incredible, I just had so much fun out there,” Williams said. “This is my first time to this event and I heard it was flat a few different years so this is crazy. I grew up on perfect right pointbreaks and to finally have a competition at one is a dream come true. I’ve been here for a few days and knew that my second heat would be all-time being at the lower tide. After an injury, I took almost a year off, and to get back into it I was super nervous before the first horn. But, as soon as I got that first wave it was right back into the flow.”
But, it was San Clemente, California’s, Nichloas Coli (USA) that tied Williams for highest heat total, and earned the top score of opening day, an 8.67, in his Pro Junior debut. Coli’s powerful backhand was hard to match among his fellow contingent as he raced his way through both Round 1 and 2 — earning a runner-up finish in his Round 2 heat.
“It’s my first event so I was just trying to make my heats and didn’t want to fall on that section because it was insane,” Coli said. “I was just stoked to land that and didn’t care what the score was, it just felt so good. There was so much anxiety this morning going through my head. I’ve just been practicing at Lowers which is perfect because it’s the same kind of wave when it’s big like this.” This event is a fun one, especially just being down here with some of my friends from home, and I’m really looking forward to the rest of it.”
Current North America No. 4 Bo Raynor (USA) enters his last year as a Pro Junior and has his goals set on making the Top 4 by season’s end. The North Carolina native began his Los Cabos Open of Surf with a heat win, but has a lot more work in front him. Raynor finished with an equal ninth in last year’s affairs, but he’s built a foundation to build on moving forward in this year’s proceedings.
“I didn’t get the best scores, but I never want to peak early and it built some confidence to come out of that heat with a win,” Raynor said. “I know I have more in me after having some fun heats last year. It’s a totally different wave this year, it’s actually a little intimidating out there. You just look down the line and see this big, long wall, but you just have to go and some of them stay open for a few turns. I’m really focused on the Junior Tour this year so I’m stoked to be back here.”
Event organizers are set to reconvene at 7:00 a.m. MDT to determine a 7:30 a.m. for either men’s Round 3 or women’s Quarterfinals.
For more information, please visit www.worldsurfleague.com or download the WSL App.
The Los Cabos Open of Surf Pro Junior event is set to run June 11 – 13 at Zippers in San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico.
Los Cabos Open of Surf Men’s Pro Junior Round 1 Results:
Los Cabos Open of Surf Men’s Pro Junior Round 2 Results:
Upcoming Los Cabos Open of Surf Men’s Pro Junior Round 3 Match-Ups:
Los Cabos Open of Surf Women’s Pro Junior Round 1 Results:
Los Cabos Open of Surf Women’s Pro Junior Round 2 Results:
Upcoming Los Cabos Open of Surf Women’s Pro Junior Quarterfinal Match-Ups:
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